Here is a simplified summary of how preachers engage with the biblical text. It is not an exhaustive summary, but I hope it will offer some helpful insight.
1. Springboard Preaching
This is where the preacher touches down in a passage only as long as necessary to bounce out of the text and into their own thoughts. A word or phrase may be taken on the journey through the message, but it has long since been ripped out of its passage context. The preaching may be superficial and heretical, or it may be theologically brilliant, but whatever it is, it is not handling the Scriptures in a helpful or meaningful way.
2. Highlight Bounce Preaching
This is where the preacher is a little more aware of the context of the passage and moves through the passage noting highlights along the way. Typically these highlights will reflect the best bits of Bible study done in preparation, and if the message remains focused on the preaching text then it will tend to be a stronger message (there are exceptions to this, of course). This approach is better than Springboard Preaching, but it can still feel like a fairly amateur approach to preaching. That is not to say that there are not proponents of preaching styles that inadvertently advocate this approach, albeit with a greater emphasis on the unity of the message than the more rudimentary “random highlights” approach of an untrained beginner.
3. The Deeper Passage to Life Approach
This is where the preacher has studied the passage in its context and is able to present the message of the passage to some depth. The depth and focus of the passage engagement also allows for effective targeting and penetration in contemporary life application. This is not a series of mini-messages on various passage details, nor an oversimplification of the passage that offers a set of parallel preaching points. Instead, it seeks to allow each detail to work together to convey the single thrust of the passage in a message that really represents the passage in question (rather than forcing the passage to support a standard sermon shape as often happens in the previous approaches). Obviously the depth of the message and the accuracy in application will vary depending on the skill and maturity of the preacher, the time available for preparation, and the capacity of the listeners.
This third approach should honour the text in seeking to communicate what is actually there. It should stir the preacher who is actually studying a passage rather than simply shaping a message with different material. It should impact the listeners because the unique message of this passage will be planted in their hearts.
Let’s evaluate our approach to preaching and seek to stay in the text more than the first approach, and then seek to probe the text more than the second approach. And if we get into the realm of the third approach, then there will always be so much more to learn and improve!
24 thoughts on “3 Approaches to Preaching”
I guess I prefer a little more of that old fashioned fire and brimstone preaching. We really need it now as we get closer to the end times. Too many pew warmers are not saved and really need to hear the Gospel and about hell and none of that watered down fluff.
Thanks for your comment. I would be interested to know what it was in my post that triggered this comment.
Reblogged this on Baptist Preacher.
Every week I wrestle with the text. It would be so easy to stick to approach one. Oh… But the church needs desperately sorry approach 3!!
Good discussion….option 2 is a seductive method…and this article challenges me to be more intentional about leading preachers to something that looks like option 3….
We must ne careful when we teach preaching for the true preaching comes only through men of God as they are moved by the Holy Spirit. Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach.
Great preaching always has the work of the Spirit very much driving the ministry, but I’ve seen some untrained preachers hide behind claims of the Spirit’s leading as they have preached some very poor messages, even heretical ones.
So men over the Spirit’s leading? Thats a heracy.
You seem to have missed what I wrote in my comment, let me repeat it: Great preaching always has the work of the Spirit very much driving the ministry, but I’ve seen some untrained preachers hide behind claims of the Spirit’s leading as they have preached some very poor messages, even heretical ones.
To claim the Spirits guiding is no careless matter and it is the Spirit Himself that gives pure unbiased guidance to which the scriptures will support. One of the sure sign’s of a false teacher is rigid planing and prideful neglect of personal ministry with the members, as well as aquiring favor among many and further pride is consequential degree in which men take the place of the Spirit and His guiding, so far this goes that the few who speak the real truth as inspired by the Spirit of God are labled as heretics, hence the reason prophets and apostals were killed…
I am struggling to follow what you are saying in this comment. Please feel free to restate your point and I will be glad to interact with it. Thanks for visiting the site.
My contenI made it very clear please re-read.
I politely asked you to re-state your point as I was struggling to understand it after reading it several times. Again, you are warmly invited to engage in conversation with the site, but please recognize that the reader cannot be expected to decode confusing communication.
Its not my fault you struggle to understand something simple.
It’s easy for you to say someone without training speaks heracy, but you ignore the fact that for you to say it is the training of men that give good sermons is a heracy in itself.
Perhaps I gave the impression that untrained preachers always preach heresy. I grew up in a church tradition that did not esteem training and I was truly blessed by some very godly untrained preachers for whom I thank God. I have also heard some, I repeat, some, who have preached very poorly, even harmfully, and some even heretically, but each one would have claimed to be led by the Spirit.
I have not said that the training of men gives good sermons. There are many factors involved, and back to your original point, you are right that the Spirit must be very much involved in true biblical preaching.
It is written, For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1 Corinthians 1:26-27
Absolutely and we should thank God for this truth. Not many of us were wise, mighty, nor noble.
My contention is that what you are saying favors the popular views which tells me that your misguided. This because the character of God demonstrates the favor of the unpopular.
Should not the measure be Scripture rather than your subjective evaluation of what is popular?
What?? Objective subjective mumbo jumbo just an excuse to not take the simple truth for what it is. God habe mercy on you I can see your mind has already been infected by yeast.